Dysart et al is planning top limit the days in which fireworks can be used to specific holidays beginning this year.
Council discussed a new fireworks bylaw during its April 23 meeting.
The proposed bylaw would prohibit the use of fireworks except for New Year’s Eve and the holiday weekends for Victoria Day, Canada Day and the Civic Holiday.
Mayor Andrea Roberts said this was a direction she preferred to end a “free-for-all” with fireworks, as opposed to a total ban.
“This is a really good step forward,” Roberts said. “This has been in the talk for 10 years now.”
Municipal law enforcement officer Kristen Boylan said she researched similar bylaws restricting the dates for discharging fireworks, including the neighbouring Township of Minden Hills.
She also noted the Canadian National Fireworks Association is not aware of any municipalities with a total ban on fireworks, instead relying on the federal regulations of fireworks sales.
Coun. John Smith said he would prefer to see a ban on fireworks in the interests of keeping harmful chemicals from them out of lakes.
“It’s the accumulation of those things in our lakes and waterways that’s the big issue, in my mind,” Smith said. “But I can accept council’s maybe not necessarily going to go as far as I’d like to see you go.”
However, Smith proposed the bylaw also ban floating lanterns, which he said can land in uncontrollable places and harm wildlife that come upon them.
The idea was accepted at the council table.
Smith also recommended taking off Labour Day as one of the permitted days, which was in the original draft of the bylaw. The idea also received council support.
“I can’t find a municipality other than Minden that thinks Labour Day is a fireworks occasion,” Smith said.
The bylaw requires permits for any public fireworks displays, but not private ones.
It also allows for a $100 administrative penalty if anyone is found in contravention of the bylaw. However, Boylan said such fines will take time.
“I’m not necessarily going to go out and hit everyone right away,” she said. “There’s a lot of education and communication that needs to happen.”
Roberts said the bylaw has received attention, with lots of letters of support to do something about fireworks.
She added the issue has come to council before but quickly gone away.
“This is the first time we’ve actually seen a specific fireworks bylaw, so I’m really pleased to see this,” she said.
The bylaw is expected to come forward with adjustments at the next meeting.
Correction: A previous version of this story said the fireworks bylaw had been passed. In fact, the bylaw is to come forward with adjustments council suggested at a future meeting.